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When Teachers Bully

08/16/10
by Pam Wright

What do we do when our children are bullied by teachers? My son has a teacher who actually calls the kids wieners and makes fun of them if they are struggling. He has a mug and sign in the classroom that say “I see stupid people.”

Unfortunately, this is not uncommon. You see it more often in middle school and high school. This teacher is allowed to continue because the principal or superintendent don’t really see the behavior as a problem. How you handle it depends in part on the age of the students.

If elementary school, your strategy needs to be… different than high school. Here is a general strategy. But, it will not be as effective if this is happening in high school – people tend to believe that older kids need to learn how to deal with jerks. Most of us had a few jerks when we were in school. It was viewed as a learning experience.

If you go to this page, you’ll find articles and resources that will help you deal with bullying behavior at school:
http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/harassment.index.htm

Advise the Administrators

Put any issues in writing.  Write a nice polite letter where you advise the principal and superintendent about what is happening (the problem) and what you think should be done about it (your solution).

The tone of your letter should not be complaining but advising them of this problem so they can take action. If you have a copy of our From Emotions to Advocacy book, you will find sample letters in the book that will help you.

Next Step: The School Board

If this doesn’t result in a change and you can’t get the administrators to take responsibility, meet with your school board member and educate him/her. You may want to invite your school board member to have breakfast or lunch with you, then describe the problem. If you take this step, it’s very important that you have documented the problems and your attempts to resolve them in writing.

Make copies of the publication below about Harassment and provide copies to the principal, superintendent, and school board members.

There are some excellent publications from the U. S. Dept of Education and Office of Civil Rights about this issue:

  • An excellent resource for parents, teachers and others who are trying to protect kids is a publication from the Office of Civil Rights, Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate Crime: A Guide for Schools. It includes a section on the definition of harassment based on disability and provides step-by-step guidance for developing a district’s written anti-harassment policy.
  • Free From EdPubs.org (ED001366B) Preventing Bullying: A Manual For Schools and Communities. This document addresses the problem of bullying in schools and defines bullying, discusses the seriousness of this behavior and the effectiveness of a comprehensive approach. The Manual presents strategies for teachers, students, and parents to use when dealing with bullying situations. It also provides examples of innovative and successful approaches used by schools in different parts of the country.

Get Support from a Child Psychologist

Get a child psychologist to meet with the person who has power and describe the damage this guy is doing to the children.  Write a follow up letter after the meeting.

However, if this is happening to older high school kids, you are not as likely to get a response that will satisfy you.

When I had jerk teachers, my parents let me know they believed in me, that they agreed the person was a jerk, that the school year would soon be over and I’d be free. The fact that they believed in me, and agreed that the person’s behavior was bad helped because I valued their opinions more than I valued the bad teacher’s opinions (or slogans on coffee cups). They also taught me that there are jerks in the world and I had to learn how to deal with them.

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97 Comments on "When Teachers Bully"


pat
05/19/2015

My grandson has been bullied for two years by many teachers. They call him a liar, throw his work down on his desk in front of him, tell lies about him. All are working together against him. He cries saying he wants to kill himself and not to go back to school. I’m so afraid they have messed him up for life. He is autistic. He couldn’t explain to us. He has a learning disability. I think they should have cameras in the class room like that, the teachers in that class argue with each other in front of the kids, they talk about each other cause they talk about a teacher to me. It’s a shame you would treat a child like that. I’m not going to stop until I prove what they’re doing. We have called the school board (Upstate New York) and nothing has happened. These teachers have no business being in school. I saw the camera when the bus driver got up screaming in his face but the principal seems to have thought that was ok. I need some help with this, some one please help me.

Cathey
04/01/2015

My son has been bullied by teachers through his whole schooling. He was humiliated because the teacher thought he was lying about not having a pencil. His IEP is for emotional disturbance, though he has been diagnosed with ADHD but the school will not recognize it. Per the IEP, my son’s behaviors are his choice (hypothesis, avoidance and control) and so they told me that it was proper punishment to humiliate and that would correct the bad behavior. I don’t understand how teachers can think that negative thinking will save the world. Well, most kids, I think, probably end up dropping out, so the child is no longer the teacher/school’s problem.I wonder, do teacher’s do it on purpose?

Eric
03/28/2015

It’s hard to run a classroom, teachers do a lot of talking & often get huge amounts grief thrown their way. Emotions can get raw, words can be said that bite more than intended. Not that it’s ok but there’s a learning curve to teaching, & some days are better than others. Personally I’d want to know if I hurt someones feelings so I could apologize. Teachers are isolated unaffected human beings. Often a teacher is assigned an impossible schedule. No excuse but if the school sets you up to fail then then you can’t win.

Denise
03/23/2015

My son who is in 3rd grade (ASD,ADHD, Anxiety) has been bullied by his teacher from the beginning of the yr. I have been documenting it and thought it had stopped when we worked on his new IEP. I was so wrong, it was just a pause. His new IEP was completed in February and it has all started up again as bad if not worse. His anxiety is so high and I can’t get anyone at the school to listen. Most things put in place to help in the classroom in his IEP are not being done. It’s as if he has no IEP. i will be taking the next step onto the dept of education locally and in the state. I am looking into homeschooling him the remainder of the year. My heart is breaking for him.

Kemberly
03/19/2015

My child was going to school ga on 10/28/14 the male teacher physically fraught my child, slam her on the ground injuring her neck and shoulder. he was also sexual harrassing her in schoolrubing on her calling her Bae/ Baby telling her he’s not married and like her not the teacher next door them I press charges on them then that went to press charges on my child in juvenile on my child then the officers tell me I can’t take out a report on the teacher and officers of the law. this school not only abuse my child but over 5 kids I know of mentally and physically. I need a lawyer.